The University of Manchester Licenses Acoustek® to Pipeline Engineering with successful live trials on a gas installation

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The University of Manchester, via its intellectual property commercialisation company UMIP, has licensed a new technology to Pipeline Engineering which uses acoustic technology to detect full and partial blockages as well as leaks in gas pipelines. Acoustek® is set to revolutionise the market as it can quickly and accurately locate features at distances of up to 10km.

The technology, which has been developed by an academic team at the University of Manchester over several years has been successful in recently securing more than £500k of funding from sources including BP, EPSRC, BP (via ITF), KTP and Pipeline Engineering which will enable the team and industrial partners to develop the technology into a commercial offering.

Pipeline Engineering has a long history of providing pipeline pigging and pipeline management solutions for the flow assurance industry and Acoustek® is a revolutionary new system which keeps it at the forefront of the market sectors in which it operates.

BP’s support of, and investment in, the development project has already enabled the development team to trial Acoustek® on a live gas installation with early results being excellent and giving further confidence to the technology.

Commenting on the success of the Acoustek® trials, UMIP Venture Manager Dr Frank Allison, said: “It is so difficult to trial new technologies such as this in a live environment. However, by virtue of BP’s investment in developing the technology we, along with the support of Pipeline Engineering’s field service team, have been able to undertake testing on a working live gas subsea pipeline in the North Sea over a number of months”.

He continued: “The second great benefit is the analysis of the findings and how the Acoustek technology processes the signal. It provides a much clearer picture of the problem in a short time which enables the appropriate remedies to be put in place quickly.”

Gordon Short, Director of Technical Development at Pipeline Engineering said “Radiographic detection and diver interventions can cost multiples of £100k’s. Add to this the loss of production and the cost, and environmental implications should the use of chemicals be involved, then the benefits of early detection using Acoustek® become obvious”.

David Mackay of BP added: “In a recent problem, Acoustek® was able to survey a section of offshore gas pipeline and correctly identify and locate a near complete blockage approximately 500 m from the host platform. The initial survey was performed in a matter of hours. The technique offered several advantages over radiographic techniques in this instance, including remote survey without the need for an ROV support vessel, and the ability to survey sections of the pipeline buried under rock.”

At present, Acoustek® can be applied using ATEX certified equipment which can be introduced either via the pig trap or permanently attached for continuous monitoring of a gas pipeline. Over the next two years, the package of funding aims to enable the team to further develop and improve the equipment which is anticipated will extend the range and improve the accuracy of the technique even further.

The team would welcome commercial interest from other O&G companies who require assessments of their gas networks.

Contact: Dr. Frank Allison, Venture Manager, UMIP
Email: frank.allison@umip.com Tel:+44 (0)161 306 8831

Nanoco Scoops Clean Technology Award

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Nanoco Technologies Ltd, Manchester

Manchester based, Nanoco Technologies, manufacturer of heavy metal free quantum dots, has won the UKTI Business Innovation Award in the category of Clean Technologies.
The award was presented at the UK Nanoforum event run by the UK Trade & Industry and attended by c. 350 people from around the world.

Dr Sergio Kapusta, Chief Technology Officer of Shell Global Solutions International presented the award. He highlighted Nanoco Technologies’ pioneering work in getting quantum dots into a number of green technology applications such as printable solar cells and solid state lighting and was excited to learn about the scale up technology which enables Nanoco to supply its customers with large amounts of quantum dots and thus open up this technology for mass market applications.

Dr Michael Edelman who received the award on behalf of Nanoco Technologies gave special thanks to the Nanoco Team for their dedication and continued ability to innovate: “This award is an important recognition for the work we have been doing in commercializing quantum dots for use in clean technology applications.”

As the winner of the category, Nanoco Technologies also received a free exhibitor pod at Tokyo nanotech 2009, the world’s largest nanotechnology show which is held in February 2009.

To see footage: http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=92891&videoChannel=6

UMIP Premier Fund invest in Arvia

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MTI Partners is delighted to announce the second investment by the UMIP Premier Fund (UPF). This latest investment is in a company called Arvia Technology Ltd (Arvia), a company operating within the rapidly developing environmental technology sector. Partnering with Alliance Fund Managers (AFM), which has invested through the Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) Liverpool Seed Fund, and private individuals, GBP 800,000 has been invested in Arvia to bring to market its groundbreaking water purification products.

Arvia is a spin-out company from the University of Manchester’s School of Chemical Engineering and the company is a product of UMIP’s well regarded technology transfer and incubation process. Arvia Technology Ltd has developed a continuous, low cost and low maintenance process for the removal of pollutants from water for both the industrial and the municipal sectors.

Nigel Brown, the founder and Technical Director of Arvia stated:
“This investment comes at just the right time for Arvia, as it is now able to put working units in the field, prove the economic and performance benefits and continue to develop the high calibre management team alongside our new investor partners.”

Managing Partner of MTI Partners, David Ward said:
“Arvia’s capability in materials development underpins this technology offering to the global water market that is gaining importance and becoming more innovative. This investment is a perfect fit for MTI’s Materials Science/Cleantech practice.”

Arvia will locate to Merseyside in the near future and it will form part of the growing cluster of high-tech companies in the region.

Darling meets spin-outs during Manchester visit

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On the 2nd June Chancellor Alistair Darling visited UMIC’s Core Technology Facility building in Manchester to meet two successful biotech spin-outs, Renovo (LSE:RNVO) and Epistem (LSE:EHP). The Core Technology Facility was established with NWDA and ERDF funding to provide grow-on incubator space for biotechnology and high-tech early stage companies.

Although Darling was in Manchester to officially launch the Manchester Independent Economic Review – a major study into Manchester’s economic potential ndash; he specifically requested a chance to look around company laboratories and to meet company executives.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Renovo’s CEO explains: “We were pleased to show the Chancellor around Renovo including our recent expansion to new facilities on the first floor of the Core Technology Facility. He saw first-hand our development of novel pharmaceutical drugs to reduce scarring and accelerate healing.”

Mark continues: “We discussed the challenges facing biotechnology companies like Renovo. We’ve grown from just 2 founders – Dr Sharon O’Kane and myself – and spun out of The University of Manchester as a private VC backed company in 2000. Renovo now has over 180 full time employees, we are publicly listed on the main list of the London Stock Exchange, and we spend close to £30 million per annum on research and development.”

During the Chancellor’s visit, Peter Sanderson, chairman of The University of Manchester Intellectual Property Limited (UMIP), presented an overview of the University’s IP commercialisation activities. Ernie Richardson, CEO of MTI Partners, expressed his enthusiasm for ideas developed at the University now in the process of commercialisation.

MTI Partners are the fund managers for the recently-launched £32 million UMIP Premier Fund. Ernie comments: “We have seen evidence of some incredible ideas within the research departments of The University of Manchester. This Fund will enable those researchers to gain access to the finance and business skills to turn their ideas into real business – what could be more exciting?”

Myconostica Ltd Closes Oversubscribed $7.7 Million Round and Establishes US Headquarters in Charleston

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Financing to bring advanced medical diagnostics for
life-threatening infections to market and establish US presence.

April 2008, Manchester UK and Charleston, SC- Myconostica Ltd, a Manchester UK-based medical diagnostic company specializing in rapid and highly specific tests for life-threatening fungal infections, today announces that it has closed an $7.7 million (£3.9M) oversubscribed round of financing from a number of leading international private equity investors. The new funds will be used to launch the company’s first two products and establish new US headquarters in Charleston, SC.

Over 10 million people are at risk of invasive fungal infections in Europe and
North America each year. This number is increasing rapidly with the large
growth in patients whose treatments involves transplants and/or the use of
immuno-suppressive drugs, leaving them susceptible to fungal infection. Current
diagnostic methods are too slow and non-specific for optimal patient care.
Myconostica which was formed in 2006 as a spin out from the University of
Manchester, is developing and commercializing tests based on highly specific genetic “signatures” unique to each disease and allow faster and much more
precise diagnosis. These “molecular diagnostics” are simple and can detect
multiple fungi in a single process.

The completion of the series C financing was led by Nexus Medical Partners (Boston and Charleston) and also featured Innoven Partenaires (France), the principal international investors joining existing investor Amphion Innovations (AIM: AMP-L) in the round. This second close brings the total raised, in the current Series C financing, to approximately $8.6 Million(£4.4 M).

The capital raised in this round of financing will support the launch of
Myconostica’s first two products. The first product is the world’s first real-time molecular diagnostic simultaneously testing for both Aspergillus and Pneumocystis. The second product is a fungal DNA extraction system. The diagnostic product, announced at the Trends in Medical Mycology meeting in Turin in October 2007, is CE marked, which enables sales in Europe and several other territories. The investment will also allow development of further diagnostic tests in the FXG series targeting other critical fungal infections. Myconostica will be applying to the FDA for regulatory approval to launch the products in the US market.

Following the latest fund raising, Myconostica are also pleased to announce the opening of its US headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina. The new office, Myconostica’s first outside of the UK, will be the focus for North American operations and was chosen after careful review of alternative locations. South Carolina has a growing cluster of medtech and biotech industry.

Gregory Zaic, Nexus’s senior partner in charge of Nexus’s Charleston office, introduced the company to key clinicians at MUSC, thanks to suggestions by MUSC’s president, Dr. Ray Greenberg. The company is establishing clinical cooperation with members of the MUSC faculty. The location of Myconostica’s US office is being facilitated by the City Of Charleston’s Life Science Initiative (of which Nexus is a supporter). Nexus is one of the four venture capital firms to receive state sponsored funding under the South Carolina Venture Capital Investment Act.

Myconostica welcome:

Dr. Edwin Snape to their Board. Dr. Snape is co-founder and head of the healthcare practice at Nexus Medical Partners (Boston and Charleston) and has been involved in venture investing for the past 30 years. He brings further valuable commercial and diagnostics sector expertise to the company.
Spencer Kerry as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Kerry, a Cambridge law graduate who qualified as an accountant with Deloitte and Touche, has over ten years experience in various senior corporate financial roles most recently as Business Controller at Edinburgh based biotech company Ardana PLC.

Dr. Snape indicated “I am pleased to accept the Board position at Myconostica. The company represents an excellent example of Nexus bringing into South Carolina an exciting, knowledge-based company. In addition, the $2 million invested by Nexus through its fund, was supplemented by three times that amount of capital via coinvestors.”

Professor David Denning, founder of Myconostica, and a world leading authority on fungal disease at the University Hospital of South Manchester, said, “I am very pleased with the exceptional level and quality of international response to this financing opportunity as it allows us to continue the exceptionally rapid
progress in the development of our company and our current and future products. The medical need for these products is clear and growing.”

Jerel Whittingham, Chief Executive Officer of Myconostica commented, “At such a difficult time in financial markets, Myconostica’s success in this oversubscribed fund-raising is a tremendous endorsement of our commercial prospects and we will only succeed commercially by making a real difference medically. “

For further information please contact:

Myconostica Ltd
Jerel Whittingham, CEO, (Manchester):
+44 (0)7779 095604 / +44 (0)161 998 7239
Dr. John Thornback, Chief Operations Officer (currently in US):
Mobile/Cell +44 (0) 7968 726573

About Myconostica Ltd.
Myconostica is a medical diagnostics company, spun out of The University of
Manchester in 2006 specializing in molecular diagnostic tests for life-threatening
invasive fungal infections. Myconostica has its Head Office and laboratories in
South Manchester, and has strong links to the University Hospital South
Manchester and the Regional Mycology Laboratory, Manchester. Founded by
David Denning, Professor of Medicine and Medical Mycology, Myconostica has a
strong pipeline of products, the first of which will be launched in 2008.
On the web: www.myconostica.co.uk
Myconostica is a partner company of Amphion Innovations.

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